Support the Calls of Workers and Vote for Candidates Who Will Champion Their Rights and Welfare

This coming Sunday, May 1, is the commemoration of International Workers’ Day or Labor Day. This day is a result of the many sacrifices, sweat and blood, and collective action of workers for an eight-hour working day as well as other victories for their rights and welfare.

But what is there to celebrate in these times? Two years have passed since the COVID-19 pandemic started and the Filipino people continue to suffer. This was brought about by an unscientific and militarist response by the government which has relied on harsh lockdowns while providing minimal aid to the people. Among the ASEAN countries, the Philippines has the highest unemployment rate, inflation rate, biggest trade, and fiscal deficits, and the biggest decrease in manufacturing. The country’s ballooning debt has reached Php 5.5 trillion in a span of two years and whose supposed benefits are not felt by the people. It is estimated that the total debt of the Philippines will reach Php13.32 trillion by the end of the term of President Rodrigo Duterte. This will put every Filipino in debt of up to PhP 106,093.00.

Meanwhile, wages of workers remain low, a pittance, in the six years of Pres. Duterte’s office. During his term, workers’ wages have only been raised twice, the least number of times and the lowest since 1986. Hunger and poverty of Filipino families have been exacerbated due to oil price hikes as global oil and food prices remain tense, and incomes continue to fall. Even the promise of ending contractualization and the practice of “endo” remains unfulfilled. There have also been many human rights violations against workers such as the killings of union leaders Manny Asuncion in Cavite and Dandy Miguel in Laguna, to name a few.

Thus, we need to support the calls of the workers for a just living wage, end contractualization and the practice of “endo”, and attain justice for the victims of human rights violations among their ranks.

This year, Labor Day is within the context of the national elections. May this day serve as a reminder of the importance of our votes for meaningful change that will benefit the workers and the people.

Let us always choose leaders who are working for and have track records in serving the people, especially the workers, and not those who are only doing lip service. Let us vote for candidates who stand for and with the workers, those who consistently push for laws to protect workers’ rights and welfare, so that abundant life may be achieved for our laborers and the rest of the Filipino people.

The Holy Book admonishes us: “Do not take advantage of a hired worker who is poor and needy, whether that worker is a fellow Israelite or a foreigner residing in one of your towns. 15 Pay them their wages each day before sunset because they are poor and are counting on it. Otherwise, they may cry to the Lord against you, and you will be guilty of sin. (Deuteronomy 24: 14-15)

Signed:

01 May 2022

REV. FELIPE B. EHICAN, JR.
Chairperson

RT. REV. JOEL O. PORLARES
Vice – Chairperson

DR. GAY B. MANODON
Vice – Chairperson

MA. KAY CATHERINE F. ALMARIO
Vice – Chairperson

BISHOP REUEL NORMAN O. MARIGZA
General Secretary

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1With 110,000 Million population according to Ibon Foundation, https://www.ibon.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/debt-per-capita-adjusted-title.png